We’ve all been here before. Every year January rolls around once again we’re stuffed with turkey, mince pies, chocolate and mulled wine, swearing we will be completely new people this January. By February half of us are pretty much back to where we were when we started and by March that figure has dropped again. Getting fit is the most commonly made (and commonly failed) new year’s resolution. Changing behaviour and attitudes is not easy and requires motivation that goes deeper than looking “beach ready” for summer 2018. We have some tips here for how you can make and stick to your new years’ fitness resolutions.

1. Keep a Diary

Keeping a diary of your progress will help in more ways than one. Firstly it will make you accountable; writing down your targets whether they are weight loss, running distance, weights lifted will turn your thoughts into something more tangible. It will act as a carrot and a stick; seeing your progress written down will act as an incentive to keep going and on the flip side lack of visible progress will make you work harder to start seeing positive results. Writing things down will also help you identify unhealthy patterns, pin – points and draw parallels between inputs and results.

2. Keep it Social

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Exercising with friends can become a social activity when done in good company. Schedule a weekly class such as boxing or circuits that incorporates teamwork and requires you and your friends to motivate each other. Committing to doing it regularly with friends will also force you to stick with it. Neither will want to let the other down so even if you’re feeling like you’d rather be a couch potato for the evening the prospect of letting your buddy down will force you to get moving. Many people have also commented that getting fit in a group will also encourage a bit of healthy competition – just make sure this stays friendly! Parents – this can include your kids. Use it as a way of instilling positive attitudes towards health and fitness, using yourself as a role model.

3. Make an Investment

There are ways of getting fit without taking out a second mortgage such as outdoor runs or walks but if you’re serious about your fitness goals, you will need to make some kind of financial investment to the cause. Whether it’s a gym membership, new gym gear or home gym equipment such as a pair of dumbbells or treadmill, self improvement will come at a price.

4. Understand your motivation

Changing behaviour for the long term requires motivation that goes deeper than wanting to fit into a certain size clothes by X date. Superficial incentives and rewards will work for the short term but for long term behaviour change you will need motives that appeal to you on an emotional level, such as wanting to improve overall health. A holistic approach to fitness is important. Fitness should never be just about looking good but also feeling good.

5. Set Goals & Targets 

Setting goals and targets will focus your efforts and allow you to visualise your path to success. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so break long term goals into manageable, timed stages. Giving yourself little rewards (that won’t set you back on your fitness goals) once you achieve your targets is a strong motivator.

6. Be Realistic

Having a “fispiration” or person whose physique you aspire to attain to can be a powerful motivator but this should never be your only goal. By limiting your goals to this you are only setting yourself up for disappointment and ultimately failure. Realise that your body is your body and while we can all improve, we can never look exactly like someone else.

With these tips in mind, go forth and make 2018 the year you actually stick to your fitness goals!